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Phytoplankton Productivity Response to Nutrient Concentrations, Light Availability and Temperature along an Australian Estuarine Gradient

Mark J. H. O'Donohue and William C. Dennison
Estuaries
Vol. 20, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 521-533
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1352611
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Phytoplankton Productivity Response to Nutrient Concentrations, Light Availability and Temperature along an Australian Estuarine Gradient
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Abstract

Phytoplankton productivity and the factors that influence it were studied in the Logan River and southern Moreton Bay, a large embayment on the east coast of Australia. Phytoplankton productivity, dissolved and total nutrient concentrations, and turbidity were determined throughout high and low rainfall periods to characterize light and nutrient influences on productivity. Turbidity and nutrient concentrations were highest at upriver sites, but productivity was highest at the river mouth and within the river plume. Phytoplankton productivity peaked after rainfall events (>150 mg C m-3 h-1), commensurate with a decrease in dissolved nitrogen concentrations. Productivity responses to increased nutrient concentrations and light availability were determined in laboratory incubations. During summer, productivities at the bay sites were stimulated by nitrogen (N) enrichment, while productivities at upriver sites were stimulated by phosphorus (P) addition. Light stimulation of productivities was more pronounced at upriver sites than bay sites. The relative magnitude of nutrient and light stimulation of productivities indicate a predominance of light limitation upriver, significant N limitation within the Logan River plume, and little effect of light, N, or P at sites beyond the Logan River plume. Productivity decreased with seasonal decreases in temperature. Lower water temperatures in winter probably helped determine maximum rates of phytoplankton productivity. The combination of light and N limitation of productivity during summer, and temperature limitation during winter, account for low areal productivities (<0.6 g C m-2 d-1), compared with other rivers and estuaries worldwide.

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